We are moving ahead with the Spot-lit programme, working with partners across Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Finland and Iceland.
Following a call-out for proposals, the Spot-lit teams across the partner regions selected in excess of twenty literary tourism related businesses & organisations to be supported through our Literary Tourism Product Innovation Programme. To read more about this programme, click here.
This programme will also include a Literary Tourism Business Exchange Programme where participating organisations in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Finland and Scotland will form a literary tourism-related cluster giving businesses the opportunity to network, transfer knowledge and support each other in the development of Literary Tourism and jointly and individually promote literary products through the Digital App being developed by our Finnish project partners.
Today, we are showcasing the five selected Irish organisations. In the West of Ireland, successful projects were selected from across a range of bookshops, festivals, literary organisations and publishing.
Tertulia Bookshop, Co. Mayo
The Spot Lit Programme has provided invaluable support and mentoring in developing literary tourism here in Westport, County Mayo. Group meetings (held online due to Covid restrictions) have provided opportunities for collaboration and further support from our project partners. Individual mentoring has assisted in clarifying our vision, mission and realistic project goals. In general we feel supported as a business and excited about the prospects going forward.
“Tertulia, a bookshop Like no other” is more than just a bookshop, it is a space for people to engage in and experience literature and philosophy in Co. Mayo. The Spot-Lit supported project is to develop the bookshop in Westport as a hub for literary and philosophy events.
Tourists and locals are encouraged to visit the actual shop and participate in events being held, they can then continue that connection by becoming members and participating in our on-line membership/community forums.
Through Spot-lit, a new experiential product offering is being developed for visitors to Westport; half and full-day “Literature and Philosophy” events throughout the year. These events will involve speakers, workshops and debates based on the model of a mini Citizen’s Assembly, using experts and informed debates. Right now events are taking place online via the innovative Tertulia TV YouTube show is being being beamed into book lover’s homes throughout Mayo, the west and beyond, see Tertulia TV for more. We will also leverage our unique position on the ocean and the Wild Atlantic Way for example with Wild Atlantic Writing events.
Mayo Celtic Holidays Ltd./Kiltimagh Tourism Association
We have found the Spot-lit soft supports very beneficial, having participated in six group sessions and three mentoring sessions with our mentor Karan Thompson, we have developed a project vision, action plan and put milestones in place which we have delivered on. With the assistance of the LT-PIP programme we have successfully developed a festival programme which is ready to go in October 2021. The mentoring we received in the area of marketing was very beneficial and assisted us in developing a new website. Contacts have been developed with other project participants who we found have connections with our literary product and we hope to work with them with a view to setting up a literary trial. Unfortunately due to Covid 19 all the events we had planned for 2020 has had to be postponed until 2021.
The voluntary-run Kiltimagh Tourism Association promotes and develops tourism in this rural area in Co. Mayo, as well as organising a number of festivals. The Spot-lit supported project here is focused on “Aintoine Raifteirí”, a wandering musician with a fiddle and like so many vagrant musicians of the time he was taught to play an instrument so that they would be able to earn a living.
The Spot-lit supported programme will highlight several events throughout the year culminating in RAFTERY RETURNS’ in October 2021 and annually after this time. Included in the programme of events are creative writing and performance skills with children in the area, readings and workshops as well a literary tour through Cill Aodain and a programme to reach out to the visually impaired community.
”Spot-lit affords us the opportunity to deliver on our aims, to make Kiltimagh into a ‘Raftery’ town, put Cill Aodain on the literary map, nurture future generations of young writers and establish ourselves both national and internationally”
Cairde Sligo Arts Festival
An eight-day cultural festival set in Co. Sligo, Cairde has developed a reputation for presenting an exceptional and thought-provoking arts festival programme which sees a great coming together of regional, national and international artists, thinkers, communities and audiences.
With the support from the Spot-Lit project, Cairde Sligo Arts Festival aim to develop two special strands of the arts festival programme. Strand one, Cairde Word a series of high-quality literary performances and a literary trail incorporating poetry, readings and performance art. Strand two will be an annual site-specific spectacle performance linking current Irish literary works with well known scenic sites along the Wild Atlantic Way.
In July 2020 Cairde Sligo are hosting Cairde Word and Vagabond Voices online – details HERE
Sligo town and county are synonymous with art and literature. Endowed with recognition by the Yeats family and its connections to Sligo, as well as a wealth of distinguished contemporary writers who call (or have called) Sligo their home including Kevin Barry, Sally Rooney, Dermot Healy, Una Mannion and many more.
Cairde Sligo Arts Festival’s aim is to complement the existing and celebrated literary scene and provide a platform for contemporary voices both from the region and beyond set amongst the stunning backdrop of the Wild Atlantic Way.
Yeats Thoor Ballylee Development CLG
The Spot- Lit program has been of great value to The Yeats Thoor Ballylee project in highlighting the many literary locations and businesses in our region. Our initial concept for the project had to be adjusted as a result of Covid 19 issues. We could no longer open our doors and promote the physical space. So with the help of the Spot- Lit partners we were able to re-imagine the project to fit current and possible future restrictions. Valuable advice has been given regarding the trajectory of our project, as well as targeted mentoring for our various needs. Spot-Lit has allowed us to connect with the other project partners in Ireland to assist in building a unified approach, and a strong profile for literary tourism. We have been able to meet first hand with the neighbouring group focusing on Raftery in Mayo, and connect with his history in our region thus strengthening the overall project of both groups. Through the assistance of Spot-Lit we hope to tie in the mythology and legends that WB Yeats and Lady Gregory revived, with the work being done in Finland on their own creation myths. The cooperation of Spot-Lit is of such significance to our overall goal showcasing the immense importance of local literature in its many forms.. Spot-Lit is allowing us to bring our work to an international stage along with other partners, placing literary tourism and its development in a deserved place
Since 2015, Thoor Ballylee has been reopened and managed as a tourist attraction, events venue and cultural centre by Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society. This fourteenth-century Hiberno-Norman tower in County Galway, Ireland, was purchased by W.B. Yeats, Irish poet, playwright and Nobel laureate in 1917. He lived and worked here with his wife George and children Anne and Michael until 1929. Thoor Ballylee inspired what are considered his greatest books of poetry: The Tower (1928) and The Winding Stair (1933).
We offer visitors the chance to see poetry in the making as they explore the cottage and tower rooms where the poet made his summer home. By walking the river, crossing the bridge, and climbing the winding stair to the battlements, visitors can discover the world Yeats turned into verse. We offer a world-class cultural centre, with audio-visual display and award-winning exhibitions, guided tours, books and souvenirs, and afterwards a welcoming cup of tea. Guests can experience our performance space for music, drama, storytelling and poetry, and enjoy our new studio for arts, crafts, and educational events. Set by a stream in a place of peace and greenery this visitor centre connects to the local community and opens a gateway to the literary heritage of South Galway, which includes Lady Gregory’s former home in Coole Park and the Kiltartan Gregory Museum.
The mill by the river provides an exceptional venue for weddings and parties. New cultural events, both real and virtual are happening all the time. Due to COVID-19 restrictions visits to the tower are currently restricted but for more information, how to join us, or donate to our volunteer organization, see our website. https://yeatsthoorballylee.org/
Thoor Ballylee Development CLG
Rooted in the fourteenth-century hiberno tower just outside Gort, Co. Galway, Thoor Ballylee Development CLG is a literary and cultural organisation with a track record of over 25 years delivering educational and artistic infrastructure, attracting visitors seeking literary and cultural tourism experiences in South Galway.
Through Spot-Lit, the group proposes to develop a new network connecting local people and visitors to locations and sites of international literary and artistic importance in our region.
The project will connect the region by creating a newly branded network in geographical space, in coordinated media profile, and through renewed online presence, integrating activities, places, and online visibility, and enhancing collaboration with major partners, such as Cúirt International Festival of Literature, the Druid Theatre, National University of Ireland Galway, the Abbey Theatre, and especially the Wild Atlantic Way and Fáilte Ireland.
View Thoor Ballylee Video HERE
Artisan House, Connemara, Co. Galway
In the heart of Connemara, this independent publishing company specialises in beautifully illustrated high-quality books and bespoke publications on a richly diverse range of subjects. Artisan House is currently extending its operation to include a bookshop/cafe on the ground floor of their premises and to become a destination location.
Connemara has an abundance of literary and artistic associations extending over many decades and even centuries. Through the Spot-lit programme, the publishing company plans to develop a series of literary tourism guided tours in Connemara including package holidays, printed materials and maps.